Hardwood floors and wall paneling: to coordinate or not?

Decorating Dilemma:

I want to install hardwood floors throughout my house. However, the living room has a 10-foot ceiling and beautiful wood paneling on the walls, typical of many homes built in the ’70s and early ’80s (it was called a great room at the time). Should the wood floor be lighter, darker or an exact match with the paneling in the living room? I plan to use area rugs to keep the room from looking like a cave. Your guidance is appreciated!

Jane Jones
Dallas, Texas

 

Style Studio Solution:Hardwood floors & wall paneling: to coordinate or not?

Jane,

What a fun project. You’re going to love having those hardwood floors!!

We don’t think your woods need to match exactly, but they should be in the same hue. For example, if your walls are a neutral brown, it’s fine to go with a flooring that’s lighter or darker than that same brown, but avoid a flooring choice that is redder or greener. See the graphic we’ve attached here as an example of three different brown hues going from light to dark. Try to stay within one hue, but just go lighter or darker.

It would be a good idea for you to get a few boards of your color options and lay them up against the walls and live with them for a few days, looking at them at different times of the day, as the light will change as the sun moves through the sky.

 

Good luck!

Style Studio Team

 

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

9 Comments

  1. Reply

    Faye

    May 15, 2017
     

    In my great room I have a dark walnut colored paneling, that also includes lighter brown tones in the paneling as well. The paneling is from the vaulted ceiling to the floor. I previously had a light colored carpet, the carpet has been removed and I have been trying for eight months to decide what to replace it with. My original plan was to replace with a wood flooring, I am having trouble visualizing the completed project as something I can live with. I have considered a mixed flooring design. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Faye

    • Reply

      Annika Dupree

      June 5, 2017
       

      Faye,
      We would love to help you design your great room! We offer a free service with our interior designers who will help you pick out furniture, fabric, and accessories. Just send in your question and a picture of your great room here, and a designer will reach out to you with a design plan!

  2. Reply

    Sherry

    June 14, 2016
     

    Thank you ☺

  3. Reply

    Sherry

    June 13, 2016
     

    We have paneling on our walls, older paneling that is…not real dark and not too light but we want to put in a wood floor but dont know whether to go dark or lighter flooring to go with the panelin

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      June 14, 2016
       

      Sherry,
      Without seeing the space, it’s hard to offer suggestions, but we don’t recommend trying to match the paneling. We suggest either going a lot darker than the paneling or a lot lighter than the paneling on your floor so there’s enough distinction between the two. Look to the other finishes in your space to determine whether you should go darker or lighter.
      Good luck!

  4. Reply

    malka fraenkel

    August 7, 2014
     

    I have wood panelling as well in my basement and just tore the wall to wall out. I do not want to replace with carpeting and have two options which are wood flooring and or a marble look. Both are not natural. Are wood floors and wood panelling too much? the marble feels commercial to me.
    thank you,
    Malka

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 28, 2014
       

      Hi Malka,

      Thanks for your comment. Without seeing your space, it’s hard to say, but we don’t think wood floors with wood paneling would be too much. You could also consider adding an area rug if you choose wood floors which will help break everything up. We bet that once you add furnishings and rugs to your basement, it won’t be too much at all!!

      Hope that helps!
      Happy Decorating,
      The How to Decorate Team

  5. Reply

    Charilynn

    October 6, 2012
     

    Would never have guessed about the shadings of brown. This helps me a lot in my redecorating projects to come.

  6. Reply

    jroyal

    July 17, 2012
     

    Very helpful!

LEAVE A COMMENT